Outside the room
Somehow, I’d convinced myself that there were no child-friendly escape rooms in the South of Spain, so I’d put escaping to the back of my mind. Then, during an idle moment while wandering the streets of Málaga, I thought I’d take a quick look at TripAdvisor just in case. Much to my surprise, there were several places that looked promising, so I went for a short wander to ask them whether they were suitable for a five- and seven-year old. Half an hour later I’d found two options, one of which was immediately available right next to where we were visiting. Fate? As a bonus, it was ParaPark Málaga, a franchise of the first European escape room. At present, they only have a single game, the Fourth Element, an Indiana Jones-themed game.
Dr. Jones has discovered a lot of things during his trips. The most important are going to be transferred to the Málaga Thyssen Museum temporarily and there will be a lot of security protocols for their transport, but Dr. Jones is disappeared and you may to find a clue in his house which includes a timer that will block the exit, and you must leave before getting caught.
Inside the room
I have to admit that I was a little disappointed when I walked into the room. It was nicely made up, but I’d expected something visually more impressive from a company with a great history like ParaPark. As the game unfolded, though, things improved significantly, and by the end I felt that the theming here was very good. In retrospect, as you play the game, the relative dullness of the “office” layout that greets your eyes when you cross the threshold is made up for by the way it’s used to show your progress through the game – to solve this game you need to collect the four elements and you see them on display right from the very start.
Puzzle wise, it’s mostly on the more basic end of the spectrum. Generally you just have to spot hidden numbers around the room. They weren’t amazingly difficult (we were playing with young children and managed to help them through most) but they were at least logical.
One particularly strong point of the game was the use of mechanical puzzles. I love something where solving the puzzle requires you to physically interact with the room, or where solving the puzzle initiates some sort of mechanism, and this game delivered on that front. There was some light searching to be done, although not so light that we didn’t require clues… More generally, clues were given as and when we needed them. They were a little too direct for my liking but reasonable and, given that we had two children and weren’t blitzing through the game, you can’t blame the host for hurrying us along.
This room deserved a good finale, and it got one. We struggled a bit to follow the instructions because we were trying not to be too forceful (how unusual…). Expect to have to be firm without using any great strength and do follow the instructions or you’ll miss out on something that’s visually nice and brings to mind some of the Indiana Jones films that underlie this theme!
We escaped with three minutes remaining. Don’t read too much into that – there’s a good sense of progress in this room and I was carefully moderating the second half of the room to try to maximise our children’s involvement.
If you’re ever in Málaga then this game is well worth playing. It’s well made, has a good host, some nice puzzles, some nice mechanics in some of the puzzle solutions, a good set and a fun finale. It would work well for both experienced players and novices.
You’ll need to decide whether to play the easy or difficult version. I asked about the two options and I’m of the opinion that they were quite similar – the second option didn’t seem to add much difficulty for experienced players and might add some frustration. You should probably play at the difficult level anyway, though, just to avoid feeling that you took the easy route out 🙂
Detailed Room Ratings